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How TikTok’s CeCe Vu balances beauty content with activism

Growing up as an Asian American, she was taught to keep her head down. Today, CeCe Vu has 86,000 followers and is the lead of fashion and beauty partnerships on TikTok. 

CeCe Vu is a Vietnamese American social media expert based in LA. She is the lead of fashion and beauty partnerships at TikTok. While social media was developing into the state it is today, CeCe was perfecting beauty, lifestyle, and fashion content creation on multiple platforms, as well as expanding her career in social media professionally. 

Very Good Light spoke to CeCe about balancing her career at TikTok, and her identity and responsibility as an Asian American in the world today.

“Right now, I am feeling a wide range of emotions: super pumped to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month, hopeful that our loved ones are getting vaccinated and the world is back to normal soon, yet shaken and angry at the ongoing hate crime against the API community, especially in the Bay area,” CeCe tells Very Good Light. “It’s a lot to process.” 

How she became TikTok’s fashion and beauty expert

CeCe joined TikTok way back in 2018, when the app was still called Musical.ly, managing creator partnerships and strategy for just over a year before jumping into leading fashion and beauty partnerships.

“My very first beauty project was during Musical.ly time where we hosted an exclusive creator event with Fenty Beauty for their launch of the Moroccan Spice Palette,” she says. “That first partnership really sparked my interest in beauty, especially, on the content side of things. It’s mesmerizing to see how creators transformed a before to an after look in a captivating 15-second video. That [had] me hooked!”

Her content inspiration

CeCe’s FYP is filled with beauty content from skincare to VFX makeup to clean beauty education. 

“You can learn so much in multiple short videos such as the importance of sunscreen via our iconic SPF mom @whatsonvisface, or how life-changing CeraVe actually is,” she says. “And explore multiple beauty experiments through our media publisher @insiderbeauty.”

Her AAPI identity

“To me, heritage is a combination of unique family identity and cultural experiences we absorb over time as we live,” says CeCe. “I come from a very traditional Vietnamese family and have been feeling caught in between being Vietnamese and Vietnamese American. Both are beautiful. I am proud and embracing all that they have to offer.”

“Growing up, I was taught to keep my head down, work hard, and not get myself into any trouble. The increasing number of anti-Asian hate crimes has broken me, but also lit a fire within me to speak up more and raise awareness around a topic that has been largely disregarded by mainstream media up until very recently.”

How non-Asian people can uplift and support the AAPI community

CeCe explained that the most important thing for allies to focus on is to develop action-oriented empathy toward the API community. And not just this month, but always. 

“There are so many resources for our allies to learn about the history of anti-Asian so they can acknowledge our struggles and become agents of change in their own communities as well,” she says. “I’m proud to work at a company that has amplified the #StopAsianHate message and stood with our community of AAPI employees and allies.”

TikTok has partnered with Act to Change, Stop AAPI Hate and #HateIsAVirus to provide resources and accessible information to TikTok users, and recently introduced a company donation matching program to support the organizations.

What’s next? 

“I’m excited to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the TikTok community, says CeCe. “Our theme this year is #KnowUs as we welcome powerful stories from our creators and aim to strengthen allyship from other communities as well. At the same time, I’d want to focus on amplifying BIPOC beauty & fashion brand presence on TikTok through partnerships, marketing, and more.”